Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 23 December, 2012

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Forgive Us Our Debts!  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 51
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 51

I. The Awful Debts
II. The Earnest Prayer
III. The Necessary Way
Psalms: 96:8-13; 19:9-14; 6:1-10; 32:1-5

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Applicatory - John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (2)
The Preacher of Repentance  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3
Text: Matthew 3:7-12

I. John’s Message
II. John’s Uniqueness
III. John’s Purpose
Psalms: 24:1-6; 20:1-9; 51:14-19; 102:13-18

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray.
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quote to Consider

Herman Witsius: "The pardon of sin does not only free the sinner from the wrath of God, but restores him to the Divine favour and friendship. As it originated in a love of benevolence, and in the gracious purposes of God; so it places the sinner in such a condition that God regards him with a love of complacency, and bestows upon him the enjoyment of his grace in the most delightful manner. He is then enabled to behold the face of God as an indulgent Father, to hear his gracious voice, and in the sweetest intimacy of Divine fellowship to declare, ‘Thy love is better than wine" (Song 1:2). ‘For I will not,’ saith God, ‘contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me and the souls which I have made. I have seen his ways, and will heal him. I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners’ (Isa. 57:16, 18)" (The Lord’s Prayer, pp. 330-331).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

The Standard Bearer and the Beacon Lights are on the back table for subscribers.

After a week of self-examination, confessing members in good standing are called to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Your participation in the Lord’s Supper is in part a witness that you repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is your righteousness and desire to live a new and godly life. As this heavenly food can be taken to one’s judgment (I Cor. 11:28-30) and as the common reception of this food is a confession of doctrinal unity (Acts 2:42), the elders supervise the partaking of the sacrament. Visitors from other denominations must request permission from the Council.

The Council has granted permission to partake of the Lord’s Supper to Henry & Barb DeVries (Randolph PRC) and to Kristin Prins (Trinity PRC), who are members in good standing in their respective congregations.

Monday Catechism, Tuesday morning Bible study, and Wednesday Belgic Confession Class will not meet for 2 weeks but will resume the week of 7 January.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "Alpha and Omega" (Revelation 1:8) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Everyone is invited to the manse on New Year’s Eve from 7:30 PM onward for a time of fellowship and games. RSVP to Rev. or Mary Stewart.

Don’t forget to sign up for the congregational dinner to be held at Leighinmohr Hotel off the Galgorm Road in Ballymena at 7 PM on Friday, 11 January.

Ballymena Lecture: Friday, 8 February at 7:30 PM, Rev. Stewart will speak on "Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Hypo-Calvinism."

Offerings: General Fund - £572.72.

Website Additions: Links to Protestant Reformed catechism materials were added (5 Burmese, 7 Chewa and 7 Spanish). We now have a total of 35 Protestant Reformed catechism materials translated on-line in 6 different languages.

PRC News: Randolph’s new trio is Revs. Bleyenberg, Bruinsma and Brummel.

Westminster Confession 15—Of Repentance unto Life:
I. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.
II. By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavouring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments.
III. Although repentance be not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.
IV. As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.
V. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavour to repent of his particular sins particularly.
VI. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof; upon which, the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy; so he that scandalizeth his brother, or the church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or publick confession and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.

J. C. Lambert: "Repentance ... a change of mind and heart ... indispensable ... for all who would share in the privileges of the new order about to be set up. To the Jewish mind this was an unexpected and unwelcome note in a herald of the Messiah; and John’s utterance of it and strenuous emphasis upon it form one of the marks of his profound originality as a prophet. According to the popular conviction, all Israel would have a lot and a part in the blessings of the Messianic age, and that specifically because of their descent from Abraham. It was recognized that judgments would accompany the appearance of the Christ, but these judgments were to fall upon the Gentiles, while Abraham’s children would be secure and happy in that day of the Lord. The Talmud explains the cry of the prophetic watchman, ‘The morning cometh, and also the night’ (Isa. 21:12), by saying, ‘The night is only to the nations of the world, but the morning to Israel’ (Jerus. Taan. 64a). Not so, said John. Repentance is the prime requisite for all who would enter the Kingdom of heaven. Descent from Abraham counts for nothing (Matt. 3:9). Every fruitless or worthless tree must be hewn down and cast into the fire (3:10). The very leaders of the nation themselves, the Pharisees and Sadducees, must bring forth fruit worthy of repentance if they are to escape from the wrath to come (3:7-8)" (Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, vol. 1, p. 863).

Thomas Watson: "Is turning from sin a necessary ingredient in repentance? If so, then there is little repentance to be found. People are not turned from their sins; they are still the same as they were. They were proud, and so they are still. Like the beasts in Noah’s ark, they went into the ark unclean and came out unclean. Men come to ordinances impure and go away impure. Though men have seen so many changes without, yet there is no change wrought within: ‘the people turneth not unto him that smiteth’ (Isa. 9:13). How can they say they repent who do not turn? Are they washed in Jordan who still have their leprosy upon their forehead? May not God say to the unreformed, as once to Ephraim, ‘Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone’ (Hos. 4:17)? Likewise, here is a man joined to his drunkenness and uncleanness, let him alone; let him go on in sin; but if there be either justice in heaven or vengeance in hell, he shall not go unpunished. It reproves those who are but half-turned. And who are these? Such as turn in their judgment but not in their practice. They cannot but acknowledge that sin, like Saturn, has a bad aspect and influence and will weep for sin, yet they are so bewitched with it that they have no power to leave it. Their corruptions are stronger than their convictions. These are half-turned, ‘almost Christians’ (Acts 26:28). They are like Ephraim, who was a cake baked on one side and dough on the other (Hos. 7:8). They are but half-turned who turn only from gross sin but have no intrinsic work of grace. They do not prize Christ or love holiness. It is with civil persons as with Jonah; he got a gourd to defend him from the heat of the sun, and through that he was safe, but a worm presently arose and devoured the gourd. So men, when they are turned from gross sin, think their civility will be a gourd to defend them from the wrath of God, but at death there arises the worm of conscience, which smites this gourd, and then their hearts fail, and they begin to despair. They are but half-turned who turn from many sins but are unturned from some special sin. There is a harlot in the bosom they will not let go. As if a man should be cured of several diseases but has a cancer in his breast, which kills him. It reproves those whose turning is as good as no turning, who expel one devil and welcome another. They turn from swearing to slandering, from profuseness to covetousness, like a sick man that turns from a tertian ague to a quartan. Such turning will turn men to hell" (The Doctrine of Repentance, pp. 56-57).

Martin Luther: "‘The people is grass,’ he says [in Isaiah 40:6], ‘The people’ is not just flesh, or the weak state of human nature, but comprehends all that is found among the people—rich men, wise men, righteous, saints. (Unless Pharisees, elders, princes, nobles and rich men were no part of the Jewish people?) Their glory is rightly described as ‘the flower of grass,’ for it was in their kingdom and commonwealth, and most of all in the law, and in God, and in their own righteousness and wisdom, that they gloried; as Paul maintains in Rom. 2, 3 and 9. So when Isaiah says: ‘all flesh’, he must mean: ‘all the grass’, or: ‘all the people’; for he does not simply say: ‘flesh’, but: ‘all flesh’. And to ‘the people’ belong soul, body, mind, reason, judgment, all that one can search out and specify as being most excellent in man. When he says: ‘All flesh is as grass’, he exempts nothing but the Spirit that withers it. So too when he says: ‘the people is grass’, he excludes nothing. Mention ‘free-will’—mention anything that can be regarded as highest or lowest among the people—Isaiah calls it all ‘flesh’ and ‘grass’! As is explained by the book’s own author, the three terms, ‘flesh’, ‘grass’, and ‘people’, in this passage mean the same thing" (The Bondage of the Will, p. 248).